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NEW YORK (PIX11) — A young black man, unarmed, is gunned down by police and sees in just a matter a days, his character maligned and tainted by images and information from his past.

That is now the reality for the family of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, which expressed outraged Friday over newly released video, which shows Brown, the high school graduate and soon to be college student, allegedly stealing a pack of cigars and pushing his way past a store clerk.

If that evolving characterization sounds familiar, it’s because we’ve seen it before –most recently in the Trayvon Martin case.

But journalist and  senior fellow and director of the Forum on Law, Culture & Society at NYU Law, Thane Rosenbaum, says further aggravating the situation, Ferguson’s police chief disclosed Friday Officer Darren Wilson, who fired the shots that killed Brown, at the time had no idea the teenager was a suspect in the convenience store robbery.

“But that doesn’t necessarily mean that the media doesn’t have an obligation to tell that part of the story. The media does not work for the legal system. The media has its own obligations to the public and the right to know,” said Rosenbaum.

The officer approached Brown because he was allegedly walking in the middle of the street – obstructing traffic.

Brown’s supporters say what they see is a classic case of character assassination.

“There’s no question that when it comes to prejudicing victims, it happens more to African Americans and people of color, and that is a problematic piece of our society,” said Rosenbaum.